Exclusive – Andrew Laughton on the rise of L.O.L. Surprise!

Published on: 4th April 2019

MGA’s senior vice president UK spoke to Toy World about the collectible brand that has taken the world by storm. 

Andrew Laughton.

Andrew Laughton is in the enviable (or unenviable, depending which way you look at it) position of overseeing L.O.L Surprise! in the UK market. The brand, which won a slew of awards in 2018 including Toy of the Year and Collectible Range of the Year at the Toy Industry Awards, has been a runaway success since launching in late 2016 – something which has caught even the company behind it a little off guard.

“We thought L.O.L. Surprise! would perform well based on pre-reads from the USA, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be as big as it is now,” says Andrew. “Even the big man himself – Isaac Larian – is amazed that a brand like L.O.L. Surprise! ended up holding 7 of the NPD Top Ten Toys slots in 2018. As far as I’m aware from experience and speaking to our customers, it’s never happened before.”

With the phenomenal popularity of L.O.L making it a challenge to keep all retailers stocked up, all of the time, attempting to predict sales figures or gauge the ultimate potential of the brand has been tricky to say the least. And Andrew is keen to dispel any rumours circulating that MGA is deliberately keeping stock short.

“I can promise you that this simply isn’t true,” he states. “We’re trying to be as fair as possible to all of our customers. It’s a balancing act and we’re doing our best to be fair across our entire customer base.”

As for what the next few years hold for L.O.L., it’s arguably anyone’s guess. Upcoming lines tend to be closely guarded until launch, to keep anticipation and excitement high, and much depends on whether the unboxing trend continues to dominate the collectibles marketplace. Andrew, however, is confident in the longevity of the brand.

He says: “If everything works as it should, if we are sensible about expectations, then I think L.O.L. Surprise! will be a success for many years to come.”

To read the full interview, which was published in the April issue of Toy World, click here.


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